Monday, 8 September 2008

Relections on EUROCALL 2008

I just got back from the EUROCALL 2008 conference in Székesfehérevár, Hungary. It was a smaller conference than usual, with around 150 participants attending, but the quality of all the presentations that I attended was extremely high this year; I cannot say that I attended a single poor presentation. There were a lot of new faces as well as the old hands. The social events were really good too. I especially enjoyed the conference dinner in the Csarda, where we were treated to a display of folk music and dancing – and even participated in the dancing ourselves.

The conference highlight for me was the session on Second Life, conducted by the Kamimo Project team, both locally and at a distance in Sweden. Second Life and virtual worlds (e.g. Lively by Google) are now a hot topic in EUROCALL. My colleague Lesley Shield and I ran a pre-conference workshop on Second Life, and I was interviewed by the local press and a radio station and asked questions about the different ways in which virtual worlds might contribute to language learning and teaching. The workshop notes that I wrote for newcomers to Second Life will remain on the Web permanently and will be updated from time to time. They can be downloaded in Word format from the ICT4LT site, Section 14.2.1 of Module 1.5:
This year’s conference was so good that we able to resist being out and about in the glorious sunshine that we had for the whole week, with temperatures creeping up from the mid-20s at the beginning of the week to 35 degrees on Saturday. The weather was really kind to us, so that we could enjoy sitting out in the open air until midnight – and later for the conference pros. A big thank you is due to Zsuzsa Angeli for organising a great conference in beautiful baroque Székesfehérevár.

The EUROCALL 2008 conference Virtual Strand archives will continue to be accessible at:
and video recordings of the keynotes will also be available.

EUROCALL still attracts members mainly from the higher education sector in spite of our efforts to widen our constituency, but this may soon change as the Executive Committee has approved a proposal to set up a special interest group (SIG) for teachers in the primary, secondary and higher sectors of education. We will be looking for volunteers to manage this SIG in the near future. Keep an eye on the EUROCALL website and the EUROCALL discussion list for future announcements:

Graham Davies
Member of the EUROCALL Executive Committee, with special responsibility for EUROCALL in Second Life